Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale.
A tale of a fateful trip.
That started from the Hobbit House
Upon an Aprillia seat.
(Are you singing Gilligan’s song yet??)
Anyway. The pannier bags were tied to the bike. The rolled bag was tied with occy straps and I was perched between all three items. My body was positioned where my knees had to take all of my weight as my feet kept slipping off the foot-pegs due to the pannier bags sliding just a tad too far forward.
With every start and stop we had to do- having to obey the road rules, the bags and my weight kept inching me further forward. Now this can become a rather dangerous task as there is a solid immobile petrol tank situated right between my husbands legs, right infront of his body. With each inch I slipped forward, he was pushed further and further onto the tank. Now I could say lots of rather naughty things here, but I will let your imagination run with it- lets just say he was looking for ice once we landed in Douglas.
All along the way, there was a peculiar odour which I thought was coming from other bikes, travelling around the warf which houses the largest scrap metal yard in England (a bit of trivia for you). The strnch was coming from every angle.
As we have ridden 50 miles to Liverpool, ridden onto the ferry, ridden off the ferry, travelled another 50 miles to the hotel (ok reality it is only 7 minutes down the road driving on the speed limit), the strange smell was still following us – mainly when we stopped.
So we unload the Yellow Thunder.
Struggling up the million stairs to the Reception desk where once again the familiar face of The Propietor of this Fine Establishment (TPOTFE) greets us with a huge smile and a warm handshake. He hands us our key and we start the long haul up 300 flights of stairs, down the Alice-in-Wonderland labyrinth to our room. We could have taken the ancient lift to the floor where we then have to descend a flight to land on the floor we are assigned. But as we do not have three hours to travel three flights of stairs inside a tiny electrified box that shudders, shakes, travels through time yet never opens, groans, creaks and finally comes to an unbearable stop. We chose to take the stairs.
Now in some wild fantasy I imagined –
- we had been upgraded to a room with a view, or at least a room that had air circulation.
- I thought that mysteriously the bathroom would be transformed with a stand-alone shower, not one which hovers above the bath open to the world and allowing the water to cascade all over the floor to form rivers of soapy water which need to be dodged while wearing socks.
- I thought the bed would at least have more than 1 inch of foam placed on top of rickety wooden slates,
- Maybe the doona (duvet for those other than Aussies reading this page), would have a new cover (it is the same cover now as what we were greeted with three years ago now).
- The floor would not be so uneven that my Husband rolled his ankle when he walked past the wardrobe.
But alas nothing had changed. But a sense of familiarity, home entered my sub consciousness and I was at peace.
A couple of days later, I was chatting to The Organiser about the This Fine Establishment but came to the conclusion that this would not be our adventure if this establishment was not part of it. This chapter enriches our experience, it adds an element that could never be replicated.
As I placed my pannier bag upon the bed, my nostrils were once again assaulted with the stench that had followed us from The Hobbit House.
I bent over to unzip the zip, the pannier bag moved a tad but seemed to snag on something.
I released the strap and unwrapped the rubbish bin liner bag I had lined the bag with incase it rained. I started to unpack the bag, long sleeved t-shirts folded into the drawer, strange stench becoming stronger.
I pulled a clump of pretty colored lace, melted into a ball and tinged with black from my bag. Hang on. I know this material. These are my knickies (what my Grand daughters call Knickers).
Ok Guys you can skip the next paragraph as this may cause you to blush. And apparently there are somethings guys don’t need to know (as My Husband suddenly went deaf when I was trying to explain that this was an important part of my clothing that has melted into a pretty ball of laceish black mass.
These are my pretty lacy knickies which I packed thinking that being lace they will dry quicker than my Granny Panties. Now I don’t know about you but I have favorite clothes, Knickies, shoes that I wear and feel good about. If you have noticed from pictures posted when I am on a motorbike, I am wearing black men’s motorbike pants. They are big (except around my waist), Baggy around my legs, rustle when I walk and I honestly feel like the lower half of the Michelin Man. So having pretty things underneath just makes me remember that I am a girl.
As I deved further into my now stinky bag, dread spreading throughout my chest, fear assaulting my senses, I pulled out a lovely navy long sleeve tshirt (which I had only worn once) and was faced with the following new design.
This is not really a fashion trend I am prepared to start. With a sinking heart, I turned the bag onto its side and was faced with this-
Now you can imagine how I felt.
This was the start of our adventure and already I was faced with a decrease in available attire and a stench of burnt clothing, exhaust fumes and despair. But looking closely at what had happened, I realized that we were very lucky the whole bag had not caught fire and burnt my right leg and caused more damage to the rest of my clothes.
I looked in disbelief while My Husband looked in shock. Suddenly I started to laugh and be very grateful that it was my clothes and not his. It was honestly one of the funniest things I have ever experienced. I could not believe that a perfect circle had been burnt through my bag, forging a path of burnt destruction along the way.
As we met up with The Lads later that night, showing pictures and laughing about it, one of the Boys piped up with
“You know I was looking at the way the bag was sitting and thought it might cause a problem’.
Oh really? Don’t you love the ‘after the event Sayers’ who don’t speak up and burnt things occur.
So I forged past this hiccup and I must say it was the brunt of a number of jokes made on my Husbands behalf.
A couple of days later I took a bag of washing down to The Proprietor and asked if he could do a load of washing for me. Apart from normal soiling, the burnt stench was attracting unwanted male attention that was becoming tiresome. It is strange how males can be attracted to a stench that is so offending to normal people, and follow the smell around. A similar phenomena occurred when a certain bike flew past, but that will be addressed at a later date. The Proprietor laughed at me and said I make these visits of our so much fun because he is never sure what he will be faced with when the “two mad Aussies’ arrive. He called to his wife that she needed to put extra smelly stuff in this wash as this was ‘that’ wash he had been expecting. A loud giggle erupted from the bowels of the kitchen. Hmmmm.
As a side-line, when we were leaving The Proprietor of This Fine Establishment was not going to let us leave without fixing my bag so nothing else would be burnt, or a trail of clothing was left behind as my clothes were spewed from the hole.
He disappeared from the desk, brought a piece of lead which he had saved from when he was fixing the chimneys,(now there is a story he told about this episode where he was left with a square piece of lead. He had climbed on to the roof to repair four chimneys. If you have ever noticed the seagulls in England are the size of emu’s if they flew. These birds are huge and they have a ‘don’t mess with me attitude’. So anyway he was repairing said chimneys not knowing there was a seagull nest nestled inside one of the chimneys. As he started to clean it out, a million seagull flock swarmed upon him. He was being dived-bombed , squawked at, wing-bashed whilst perched precariously on the roof. He looked around to find something to ward these birds off before they pushed him from the roof. He bent down, picked up a rope and started to swing it Texan-cowboy-style above his head, squawking back at the offending birds. Now, picture a five-foot six sixty year old English Chinese man, with a heavy Chinese accent relating this tale to us. I was wetting myself, tears streaming down my face, chest aching through lack of air as I hysterically listened to him relate this tale.)
So he taped the lead over the hole, tapped it into shape with a piece of wood, placed layers of sticky tape over it to secure it. When we arrived to the Hobbit House after re-tracing our trek back. the tape had started to melt off.